R.I.P. Harry Belafonte, singer, actor and civil rights activist

The singer behind such hits as "The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)" and "Jump in the Line" was 96.

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Harry Belafonte, one of the pioneers who made calypso music a phenomenon, has passed away.

Belafonte is remembered for his 1956 smash hit "The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)" which, alongside his "Jump in the Line (Shake, Senora)," helped popularize calypso and Carribbean music with mainstream American listeners. Younger audiences may even remember the "The Banana Boat Song" from its use in Tim Burton's Beetlejuice.

Belafonte's contribution to pop culture cannot be overstated. His breakthrough release, Calypso, which contained "Day-O" and another signature song, "Jamaica Farewell," was the first record to sell one million copies within a single year. In addition to his accomplishments in music, Harry Belafonte was also a notable actor, appearing alongside Sidney Portier in movies like Buck and the Preacher and Uptown Saturday Night.

While audiences will doubtlessly remember his music and his movies, Belafonte's legacy will be defined by his ceaseless work as a human rights activist. Throughout the 1960s, he marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., becoming one of the most famous faces of the civil rights movement. While contemporary pundits are quick to laud Belafonte's humanitarian work, the entertainer was frequently blacklisted for his outspokenness about the inequalities and injustices of the world. 

In addition to his work righting inequity within the United States, Belafonte was a proponent of ending famine in Africa. He was one of the key organizers of "We Are the World," a charity song recorded by the supergroup USA For Africa, in 1985. Inspired by the UK group Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?," Belafonte reached out to and led a veritable "who's who" of musical notoriety to release what would go on to become the eighth-best selling physical single of all time.

Belafonte is survived by his wife Pamela, his four children, and several grandchildren. He was 96 years old. 

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19 Comments

GOOSEYGOOSE9 20 days ago
I seen the movie on abc affilliate Komo 4 as well
As nbc affiliate king 5 and on Kstw 11 and on kcpq 13.
GOOSEYGOOSE9 20 days ago
I seen him in Carmen jones
My mom seen in movie theater.I seen it on ABC Komo 4 As well as nbc king 5.then on KCpq 13.
jacko3 9 months ago
Let's honor the tremendous human care works of the great Harry Belafonte ~ Amen - Alleluia! GOD Bless - 'peace'
Wiseguy70005 9 months ago
"Harvey Belafonte ain't black...he's just a good-looking white guy dipped in caramel." -Archie Bunker.
(Tying two MeTV articles together.)
Moody 10 months ago
Said to hear of his passing. He lived a very full & interesting life. RIP Harry Belafonte.
Runeshaper 10 months ago
R.I.P. Harry Belafonte. Loved his songs in Beetlejuice and "We Are the World" was AWESOME!
cperrynaples 10 months ago
Another sad story: Bob Newhart's wife Ginnie died after 60 years of marriage! There was a story that when she played pool with Bob and Buddy Hackett they would sing the theme from Bridge On The River Kwai! I would have to assume she only hummed or whistled it because that song [also known as Col. Bogie's March] contains lyrics that deal with Hitler's anatomical problems! It couldn't be sung in the movie but I can believe Hackett would have no problems with those words...LOL!
Runeshaper cperrynaples 10 months ago
R.I.P. Ginnie.
tootsieg 10 months ago
Rest In Peace Harry Belafonte.
Bapa1 10 months ago
RIP to a great humanitarian.
Deleted 10 months ago
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10 months ago
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KJExpress 10 months ago
I've had the Banana Boat song stuck in my head off and on for several days. Funny timing. 🤔
MrsPhilHarris 10 months ago
I admit I thought he died years ago.
Mblack MrsPhilHarris 10 months ago
His "brother", Sidney Poitier died in early 2022.

Let's remember Shari Belafonte, who was on Hotel
MrsPhilHarris Mblack 10 months ago
Yes I remember Sidney Poitier dying, but I guess since Harry was in his 90s I thought he had passed too.
LoveMETV22 10 months ago
R.I.P. Harry Belafonte
Legendary Singer, Songwriter, Actor and Humanitarian as well.
You made the world a better place Mr. Belafonte.
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Condolences to his family, friends and individuals who worked with him over the years.
😢😢
Mblack 10 months ago
He gave money to the King family, so Martin didn't have to worry about supporting his family. It came from his success, but seems like one of his more importan things.

So crank up Beetlejuice!
cperrynaples Mblack 10 months ago
Interesting Fact: NBC almost canceled a Petula Clark special because she insisted on holding Belafonte's hand during a duet! Yes, this was during the Civil Rights era!
cperrynaples 10 months ago
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wallyandbagfan 10 months ago
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Mblack cperrynaples 10 months ago
The really neat thing is that being born in Oct 1959, I never saw the real hate. We were freed from that.
cperrynaples 10 months ago
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